#1399 Pleasure vs. Meaning

Choose Wisely, Hero

In our last couple +1s, we talked about some wisdom from Donald Miller’s Hero on a Mission.

Note: That Hero would be YOU.

We started by checking in on what roles you are choosing to play (it’s ALWAYS a choice to play the role of Victim, Villain, Hero or Guide!) and then we talked about how to ruin a good story (hint: play the role of the Victim, Hero!).

Today we’re going to spend another moment reflecting on some wisdom from Don’s great book.

He tells us: “Viktor Frankl was right. All the good characteristics life offers can and should happen. In fact, he had been a prominent neurologist and psychiatrist in Vienna during the 1930s, a couple decades after Sigmund Freud popularized psychoanalysis by espousing that the desire for pleasure motivated human behavior. Frankl disagreed with Freud. Frankl said man did not have a will to pleasure but a will to meaning. And when man couldn’t find meaning, he distracted himself with pleasure.”

Don continues by saying: “Why are we so restless? Because ice cream is distracting but not fulfilling. Because alcohol offers a fabricated sense of peace. Because lust is not love. Frankl was right. We distract ourselves with pleasure when we can’t find a sense of meaning.”

In case it wasn’t obvious…

I side with Frankl on his debate with Freud.

And, I love the way Don frames it here.

We try to numb ourselves with excessive pursuits of PLEASURE when we fail to create a life of deep MEANING.

This is why Objective I in Basic Training and Module I in our Mastery Series (and the first Objective in the Heroic book that’s coming soon!) are all about making sure we know the ULTIMATE game we’re playing because, unfortunately, for the last 2,500 years (!) society has seduced us into playing the WRONG game.

Getting this fact and making the subtle but significant shift is THE FASTEST WAY to change our lives.

We need to shift from pursuing the extrinsic markers of success (like fame and wealth and hotness and... pleasure!) and, instead, focus on the INTRINSIC goodness that ancient wisdom traditions and modern science say are the true basis of a good life (like personal growth, relationships and making a contribution to your community).

Get that right and CREATE TRUE MEANING and...


Life is vastly improved.

The Stoics talk about this as well.

Ward Farnsworth puts it brilliantly in The Practicing Stoic where he tells us: “Stoics regard virtue as sufficient to produce happiness on all occasions, and also as necessary for it. The happiness centrally valued by the Stoic is eudaimonia, or well-being—the good life rather than the good mood. But the Stoic believes that virtue gives rise to joy and to peace of mind as well. Virtue produces these good consequences as side effects. The primary mission of the Stoics, in other words, is to be helpful to others and serve the greater good, and they don’t do this to make themselves happy. They do it because it is the right and natural way to live. But doing it in that spirit, as it turns out, makes them happy.”

That’s Today’s +1.

Pleasure vs. Meaning.

The Good Mood vs. The Good Life.

Choose wisely, Hero.

Day 1. All in.


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